tv Earth Focus LINKTV March 19, 2016 12:00pm-12:31pm PDT
>> today, on "earth focus," the rising cost of a changing climate. coming up, on "earth focus." we have never confronted a crisis like this. in its early stages it's producing record- breaking heat, coastal flooding, and extreme precipitation. and the cost is way too high in lives lost, in damage to operty,nd livelihood. and it may get worse. unless addressed, climate change stands to affect the security of the nation, the stability of the u.s. economy, and ultimately our ability to survive.
>> in this crisis, no one escapes. >> as far as climate change, how does it actually affect the military? there are really 3 things. one is it affects our bases. so those impacts could be rising seas, they can be droughts, they can be floods. for example, if you have a drought and you dry up the ranges, you cannot use live ammunition anymore because it sets too many fires. second is the arctic is opening up, the ice is melting, and that's opening up a whole new theater that the united states navy and our coast guard partners are gonna have to work in. and finally, when we have the national guard responding to natural disasters in the united
states, those are less forces that potentially the president could call on to go overseas. and where we already see the kind of threats that we're gonna see from national security, is just look no further than north africa. look at the arab spring. one of the contributing causes was a very rapid run-up in the price of wheat. now, why did wheat almost double right as the arab spring got going? it doubled because there were terrific droughts in australia, and if everybody remembers the fires of a few years ago, and the russian summer. there were big droughts there. worldwide wheat harvest really contracted. so, you couple the drought with really bad governance with already existing strife, it's sort of like dumping gasoline on and then just throwing matches. even though our budgets are very, very constrained in the department of defense and the department of the navy, the climate doesn't care about our budgets. it doesn't care about our politics. it's just going to change according to the laws of physics.
>> it's not only the military that is increasingly concerned. so are many financial and business experts. "risky business" is a nonpartisan analysis of the economic risk of climate change in the united states. it was led by michael bloomberg, henry paulson, and tom steyer. among the findings, if we continue on the same path, by the year 2100, the country could see $701 billion of coastal property underwater. $108 billion in average annual losses from hurricanes and coastal storms on the eastern seaboard and gulf of mexico. and in some states, a loss of up to 70% in average annual crop yields. extreme heat and humidity would also threaten human health, reduce labor productivity, and strain electricity grids. >> global climate change over time pos severe reats to life oearth ase know i toda and as me goes ,
those sere threa become greaternd great, and ultimely i thk have t pottial of coming catasrophic. >> even if you're skeptical bout clite chang there's no denyinghat it esents mor riskshat no cpany, ci, or coury can aord to iore. >> i believe the american busine communi can andust leadhe way ihelping to reducthese ris. toise to t challens of imate chge, theyust do so now.his is n a probl foanother y. the iestments e'rmaking tay will determi our ecomic futu. >> according to the u.s. government's 2014 national climate assessment, average temperatures have increased by as much as 1.9 degrees fahrenheit in the u.s. since 1895, with most of the increase occurring since 1970. temperatures are projected to rise another 2 to 4 degrees in most areas of the country in the next few decades. people are
already feeling the impact, these early effects of climate change a harbinger of what the future may hold. >> if you're on the coast, most likely it's sea level rise. if you're in the midwest, extreme heat-wave events. extreme flooding and precipitation in the midwest. the heaviest rain events are getting 30% heavier. the folks in the rocky mountain west, they're not gonna recognize the forest even 60 years hence. we're losing most of the pine trees in the southern part of the rocky mountain forests in future projections 'cause it's getting too hot and too dry. it's very ear to uthat the clate ishanging, changg rapidl and changing primary becausof human aivities. the science tells us that. extreme events are one of the most important parts of our
changing climate and having very serus ramifations oour societ. in paicular, we're seeing more large heat events, less cold events, and a significant increase in precipitation happening as larger events. ne of ththings 're sing is th the wetre getti wter and e dry argetting drier. you kn what? ias--i wa bn here iplainvi, i was raised in plainview. i've alws be in plaiiew, andt just-- it ses like iis doing nothinbut gettg hotternd rier andess rainearly.
>> it's been a tou drought 2010, had lik29 inches orain, ani didn't thin ere'ever be other po day. 2011, whad 5 ines of rai worst dught i'd ever seen. and 2011as the first time we've ever had to abandon our crop. and we had to pick and choe which op we we gonna save, whh crop wwere gon abandonand, manthat was tht was li choosinwhich chd we wergonna lo, or lee behindand we ner had to do at befor we alwa had enough wer to ma that choe. this isy far thworst i'e ever sn. it's by farhe worsa bunchof peoplhave ever se it. well, t other d i was buildg fence d just dving slowith theindows dn, and the theometer w reading
120-us. you'll cooat 120. >> we wr two ha. we u our farng hat traise the feesource, d then wuse r cowboyr our calemen's t to rai the cate on our pasture nd. co does nodo well the at. so tt's problem ght there. cn does n pollina we. that's onef our fe sorces. cttle do t do wel above 9degrees.ust likeou. you d't ike to stand outside wheit'95 degre. there's no difference between a cow and ou. catle numbs are dn. coherds argoing do daily. thuse'reosing caill' cking plts. uh, st--
tre' not enoh cattleo keep theopen. the counities e dryingp. t tax basis dryinup. >> wen the cgill plt closed welost 2,2 jobs inantly, sohat was % of our popution. wh i drivey that planand i sethat emp parking lot, it just minds me of w many js were lt, how many people were affected, w it afcted ourusiness. >> you know,ome people say thiis the n normal,hat thiss what 're gna start seeing all thtime. if we get rain, it'll be lky. >> b we can apt. the's queion abouit. we m not get o first cice, bute can adapt.e'reonna neethe brighst of thbright tmeet th challenes. it's gonnbe toher to dthis in e next 20years th it was get to e moon.
>anotheray of rn, anoth daof worki inside.nother d that wean'take carof e crops. when i'm in the middle of a rainstorm or in the middle of the conditions where it's rd for uso be ablto do anhing out the fie, it's too muddy, towet, or mething ing on,ou knowand thenou havthat nexevent th you secoming ad you wder, how a you gon get allour work ne? how e you goa take ca of the op the w it shld be tan care o
we've been here in iowa about years n. i' been faing nce i wa15. so is is my 46th cp that 're pting out. d it jusseems th we're havg more ereme eves. e last veral yes, the volatility has just been extreme. you know, we have those rain events that are 3, 4, 5 inchesn an ho, or 6 o8 or 10 ches in 24-hour riod. anthose arjust notormal. a it'those ki of even th it'very harto plan r nd to rely try tmitigate whew. m! that's wind with ts excessoisture,e're gng to ha some diase probl in our rn and o soybes, becau of the cess wet, bause of e excess humidit see? ve short. it's, uh, brown-looking.
doesn't haveoo many ots, and it's justufferingrom too much isture. well,ou know,nd beforthe ast 3 or years, imate chan--i guesmy visioof the wor of clime changeas bout a f people ying to makmoney on the deal, to try to sca enough ople int insting inyou know tecology annew thin that wouluse lessuel, thawould mitate somef the efcts thathey cla was goi to happen, and particularly the heat. but as a farmer in the last seval yearswe are actlly seei those cnges happehere on the farm. we're having more and more extreme events, you know, whether it's heat or cold or too much rain or not enough rain. in the la 10 year our cos to grow crop havgone up
almosalmost 5imes. uh, younow, we've add equipme so we c plant a harvestn a muchhorter te wind. we've beenore mindl othe so cover at we ha because the serus rain vents. ose bleings thawe have be ot in wit mother ture and to aust to t changin sesons thawe have e really natul for uswhat is untural ishe fast ce that we're havinto adjusto. >> there is not debate that climate change will exacerbate forest fires. because of the heat and the precipitation change droughtthose sorts of factors. scientists are
projecting a 50- 100% increase in area burned in the next 40 years or so. >> it was like a nightmare, the whole evening. my only thought was, if we get through this day and everybody's alive, it'll be as good as it gets. there it is, right here, right here. >> oh, my gosh. >> ok. we're out, we're out. >> it was definitely the worst night of my life. >> on the day of the lower north fork fire, it was a red flag breezy day. we were dispatched initially to a grass fire. >> we had sent assistant chief page up onto a ridge, uh, to get a good, you know, overview of the fire. >> when that fire made that turn and went through that gully, it started running up towards
where i was. when it took off, it took off fast. >> one couple died at their home and then one woman also died at her home. it just kept happening and happening all summer long. traditionally, march was the snowiest month of the year around here. this past march we had no snow at all. basically summer type conditions. and that lengthening season is causing changes in the fuel, so we're seeing the fuels start to grow earliein the sson, ando thedry out rlier. clate chage is ve real. it's changed my entire life. this year was our most destructive fire season. the two most destructive fires in colorado's history occurring at the same time. it's different. it's a different world. the fire season is now longer.
in most cases, we didn't have to worry about fires in the rocky mountains or the northwest until usually june or july. now, you know, the fires are getting earlier and earlier. the first season's getting longer. we're starting to get to be like california where fire season is year-round. the faspace of imate chan is cleay seen o america's coasts, hard hit by rising sea levels, flooding, and severe storm surges. >> what we see is the united states, the eastern part of the united states from the gulf of mexico all the way up to new england is among the highest local sea level rise rates in the world. >> more people live on the coasts than ever before. and now that we have re peoplin har's w, obviouy when a sto does stke, the consequences are even more dire. >> there is a ton of coastline
in america. we have something like 94,000 miles of coastline, 60,000 miles of coastal roads. half of america lives within a coastal watershed county, very close to the ast. so, we are a coasl couny, if yowill. what climate change is gonna do, the most important impact to coastal areas is gonna come through sea level rise. and that means that coastal flooding gets worse, coastal erosion gets worse,e'reonna see coasl areas undated. an in factthe impoant thin is, th is not mething out thfuture. it's already happeni now. viinia bea, miami, new orleans, they're already dealing with those types of impact. one trillion dollars worth of structures and property sitting right at the shoreline. so flooding will get more extensive, it will happen more frequently, and that sort of thing is what puts millions of americans at risk every year.
>> by 2045, we could see as little as 5 inches of extra sea level rise or 11 inches of extra sea level rise. now, to put that in concrete terms, let's look at the u.s. naval academy in annapolis, maryland. now, annapolis right now experiences about 50 nuisance floods a year. under the best- case scenario, in 30 years hence it could be as high as over 240, about, high tides a year. if we have a highest-emission scenario, it could be as high as 380 tides a year, many of those twice a day. we think, there's only 365 days in the year. pretty much, that's almost... you know, it's inundation at that point. >> and in this country, we have encouraged people to build on coastal areas, barrier islands, and other high-risk areas that inevitably raise the risk level and the exposure, not only by property values, high-valued
properties, but the cost of repair d recove, both f thhomeowne as wells the public infrastructure that supports them. so think roads and bridges and that kind of thing. so it--the cost of climate change has to be factored in both in public and private insurance and public and private financial support for the structures that support people's homes and where they live. >> when floods and hurricanes happen, a lot of people assume that insurance will cover everything, and what isn't covered, the federal government will then come in and make them whole. unfortunately, that's rarely the case. if i live in my own home, the federal government is not responsible for coming in and taking care of me. people need to continue to make sure they've done everything to protect themselves and can't rely wholly on the federal government. >> we are looking at some communities that are putting in climate action plans that are on the scale of millions of dollars. for example, new york city is
thinking about over $350 million to try to make new york city more resilient to sea level rise. >> we need billions of dollars to shore up our coastlines and make america safe for people to live in the face of this extreme weather. >>ative alkans are on th frtline oflimate cnge. ovethe last0 years,laska ha warmed ice as ft as the natial avera. melting permafrost and coastal sea ice, as well as increasing erosionre visib changin peop'sives. >> we take alaskan native communities that are almost solel-in ordefor trnsportatn, it's either very traditional methods, seither ocean-ing, cans, or onoot, innowshoesor in so cases, snowmobis. and 's diicult to mntain th subsistce lifesle when e changeare impacti the fooresource like mane mamma, um, or
permafst is thed, and accs to tritional melands f caribour for moe are impact by vaing seass. you're starng to seearlier tha, so theimings ohunts d gathergs are iacted. d so coequentl what ma he happen this moh in yearpast nowas to beumped up, in me cases month earlierand so 're srting to see ahange inow we interet the eironmentround u >> kiuk, it's a sml mmunity. village it'not real connect to the ouide worl but i w alwaysnterestein what's goingn all arnd us. ias curus abouclimate change a how it s affectg us. didn't realizhow bad was.hen i filly undetood
at clima changwas, i hought, at could do to lp? thought at wouldelp a lo to tl my sto of how 're beingffected by climate change on this de of thworld. it'mostly aut the wter comingate. thenow woul usuallcome arod septemr or octob. but fothe past years, it's been coming around november. in december 2008, it was the worst flood that i remember. you cod see alof this ter just fwing swtly intohe llage th way, anat the me time,here werthese hu ice shts that re just ming fast, a heard tse loud thumpand bumpon the se of the hous and iigured o that was probably the ice sheets tt broke art fromhe river that are hittg the house. and aft the wat went ba into e river,here wasust brwn, stic mud allver the ground erever t water touchd. thatud was otop of
tse steps1, 2, 3,nd 4. floodin decemr are uncommon. the riversre usually frozen all the way till spring. and also therosion that we're facing here. the warmer temperatures are causing the permafrost to melt, and the permafrost to melt affects the land through erosion. so, the erosion cuts off some land that falls into the river, and we lose quite a bit each year. thispring, mdad and we measured how far it was. his yeare lost out 8 fe, d each ar we lo another 5 ft. d we ha another0 or so fe left unil the nk of th ver rehes theouse. it kee moving the sam te, then in the next few years, then we might have to move the house to another location.
it does scare me, because we don't know if there'll be epack onot in t future. t if the's t, then wou be mucharder toarvest seal r our suistence y of lestyle, peciallyor the al oil tt we heily depe onand it's parof our eryday lis. thearmer teeraturesould affect r way ofife out re. andf we di't geto come t ere and any of is with piing berrs or anyf that, it uld be hd on ouramily, andot only family,ut all the milies ithe commity as wl, becau about 9 or so of r dietear-rounis from thtundra othe ocea and it ll be hd economally. ye, we're real depende on allhis foothat we t, and i'm very tnkful foit. [laughi]
>> i think that more and more of the public understands the truth about climate change, and that if we do not deal with this problem, it will be far worse. >> one thing that we want to also ask is not just what climate change costs, but what fossil fuel dependency costs us. >> there are many ways to cover the costs associated with extreme weather. some things we need federal funding for, and, yes, that comes from the taxpayers, and there only is so much money to go around. we understand that. but there a creative solutions, too. >> better land use planning, better building codes so that homes are less susceptible to damage. and better disaster preparedness so that we don't really just continue to rebuild in these areas and then fund the recovery through taxpayer dollars for disaster assistance. making vestmentin natur defenses, green infrastructure, and community resilience, is a tremendous benefit to the nation and it's something we should do immediately. >> to create a climate resilience fund to be smart
about protecting our coastal communities and protecting our pocketbooks as taxpayers. >> failing to step up to the challenge of our time and to create more resilience for our communities would be to sit and watch rome burn. >> the longer we wait, the more expensive it is because the more severe the consequences, on a scale that we may not ever want to see. d"b"b
nina: our next speaker is someone who has been tirelessly and courageously tackling some of the most--the thorniest, most persistent core contradictions that have roiled our society for centuries and that are currently more hotly contested than ever today. she had done so as an activist, a leader, and a scholar, and is one of the most influential actors and penetrating thinkers on race, gender, immigration, social class, and poverty. you know, all those light-hearted